Written by attorney Mark A. Broughton

HBLC Law Answers: What Is The Legal Intoxication Level For Meth (Methamphetamine)?

Welcome to the first post of “HBLC Law Answers," a new FAQ series that will appear once each week here on Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation’s (HBLC) Our attorneys are often confronted with questions from citizens pertaining to a variety of topics involving California criminal law. This series presents our answers to many of those questions.

Law Question: What level of meth (methamphetamine) is considered “under the influence"? Does it count if I am breathing meth in the air at a friend’s house? Is there an established base level?

HBLC Law Answer: A very interesting question that is the subject of much debate in the legal and scientific community right now. The present answer (unless there is alcohol involved as well) is that there is no established level of intoxication for meth (or any other drug). Scientifically, there are some studies that suggest that some people actually drive better, are more alert, with certain amounts of meth in the system. The legislatures in many states are taking a serious look into this right now, and for many drugs, are trying to pass statutes prohibiting the use of any amount in the system while driving despite this scientific uncertainty. So, the issue for you will boil down to whether you were “under the influence" (a defined element) while driving. This could be shown by the level of drugs in your system coupled with objective symptoms, the field sobriety tests, and observed driving. This is a hot-bed area of criminal defense right now.

Bear in mind, though, that being under the influence of a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance are separate charges themselves, and can be felonies depending on the substances. Get a good criminal defense attorney to help you with this. It is not as easy as it might sound and even many lawyers are unaware of the technicalities of DUI-drugs.

Additional resources provided by the author

The information presented in the "HBLC Law Answers" series is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as legal advice. If you are in need of legal counsel in a criminal defense matter in California, contact the Fresno based law firm of Hammerschmidt Broughton Law Corporation. Our attorneys can be reached at (559) 772-4614. We are also on the Web at

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